Today, we’re going to look at one of the most famous miracles of Jesus. In fact it’s so famous that it’s the only miracle He ever did that’s recorded four times in the Bible. It’s found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. . .
“When Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them so he began teaching them. By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came and said, `This is a remote place. Send the people away so they can go and buy something to eat.’ But Jesus answered, `You give them something to eat!’ They said, `That would take eight months of a man’s wages!‘” Mark 6:34-37
What we have here is a big crowd, with a big appetite, creating a big problem. They’ve been out in the middle of the desert all day to hear Jesus teach. As the day goes on, there’s no McDonald’s, no taco Bell, there’s a big problem here. You need to do four little things things if you ever want to see something BIG in your life. They’re all found in this story.
1. You Gotta Ask For Help
That’s the starting point. If I want God to work in my life, I’ve got to ASK — “God, I need Your help!” For many of us this is extremely difficult. We don’t like to admit our problems. We like to hide our problems, cover up our problems, blame other people for our problems, pretend our problems don’t exist. But the first principle of this story is God works in your life when you ask Him to. Over twenty times in the New Testament, we’re commanded to ASK. So I come to Jesus and say, “I’ve got a major need in my life.” God wants you to come and ask.
When we have problems, oftentimes we do what the disciples did. Procrastinate, Pass the buck, or Worry. All three are in this story.
1) Obviously the disciples procrastinated. They put off dealing with the problem; they delayed it. Notice: Vs 35 “By this time it was late in the day.” Anybody could have figured out these people are going to get hungry sometime. We’re out here in the middle of the desert. There’s no place to eat, no fast food chains. But they put it off.
This is typically what we do with a lot of our problems. We delay, procrastinate, pretend it doesn’t exist, we look the other way. But the truth is, procrastination only makes problems worse. Procrastination never solves any problems.
2) We pass the buck. We blame other people. We say, “It’s not my fault. It’s all their fault.” Notice what the disciples said, “Send the people away.” In other words — out of sight, out of mind. They’re basically saying, “Jesus, we didn’t ask these people to come see You. So it’s not our responsibility to feed them. They’re hungry. Tell them to get lost! We didn’t ask them to come listen to you.”
We do this a lot with our problems. We want to pass it on and say, “It’s not my fault. It’s society’s fault. It’s the environment’s fault. It’s my parents’ fault. We blame other people and other things. But it’s not really their fault.
3) We worry about our problems. If you prayed about your problems as much as you worried about them, you’d have an awfully lot less to worry about. We tend to get anxious and stressed out.
Notice what the disciples did: They said, imagine the expense! “It would take eight months of a man’s wages!” Dr. Luke pulled out hi pocket calculator. . . Their anxiety goes into overdrive and I can imagine Peter and some of the other guys saying, “Jesus! How are we going to do this? Feed 5,000… feed 15,000… feed 20,000 people? How are we going to transport the food out here? How are we going to keep it warm? Who’s going to clean up the mess? Who’s going to pay for the liability insurance?” They were not thinking big.
They had forgotten who was there with them — Jesus Christ, the Son of God standing right by them. This is the guy who can turn rocks into cinnamon rolls. He’s standing right there and they’re looking for a Colonel Sanders.
So often, when we have a problem, we forget that God’s with us! He’s said, “I’ll help you, but first You Gott Ask. After I Ask:
2. I CHECK WHAT I ALREADY HAVE.
What do I have to work with. I ask myself, “What have I got?… How am I using it?” Mark 6:38 “Jesus said, `How many loaves do you have?’ [How much bread is in the crowd?] `Go and see.’ When they found out, they said, `Five small loaves of bread and two fish.'”
Why did Jesus do this? He’s God. Why would He say, “Go see what you’ve already got.” Because God always starts with what we’ve got. You take the energy you’ve got and give it to Him. You take the time you’ve got and give it to Him. You take the money you’ve got and give it to Him. You take the relationship, the talent, or whatever it is that you’ve got and say, “God, here’s what I’ve got.”
Remember in v. 36 when Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” You feed them. The disciples responded, “Lord, this is impossible! It’s humanly impossible. It’s financially impossible. It’s practically impossible! We can’t do this!”
If you’ve been a believer for any length of time I guarantee you, God has ask you to do the impossible. You say, God wouldn’t ever ask me to do more than I can handle on my own. Oh, yes he would! He wants to stretch your faith. He wants to grow you. He wants you to see that He can be trusted. Jesus wants the disciples and He wants you and me to Believe BIG even if what we have seems small.
I come to Him and ASK and CHECK what we’ve already got — the little talent, the little ability, the little wealth, the little time that I’ve got. Then I:
3. I GIVE GOD WHATEVER I HAVE.
Give God whatever you have. John tells us that in this story a guy named Andrew, one of the disciples, found a little boy in the crowd who’d brought a brown bag lunch. It wasn’t much. It was just five little barley loaves (probably little muffins) and a couple of fish.
This little boy became the hero not because he had the biggest meal or the best meal but because he gave what he had to God. This was a huge sacrifice. It’s not the size of the gift that made the boy a hero, it’s the size of the sacrifice. . .
This is the third principle: God uses whatever I give Him. Notice the Bible says “Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people…” Mark 6:41 This is wild. I don’t know how He did it but evidently as He broke the bread, it just kept multiplying and multiplying. He’d break off a piece and there was still a piece there. He kept on doing it and doing it and it multiplied and everybody could see it — the whole crowd. That’s why it’s recorded four different times by four different eye witnesses.
God loves to use ordinary things to do extra-ordinary things. God loves to use ordinary people to accomplish extra-ordinary tasks. . .
You wanna see BIG things happen, you wanna be a part of something BIGger than yourself, ASK God for help and CHECK what you already have and Give what you have to God…
God likes to do miracles through people. God could have just rained down bread on those people or turned a bunch of stones to bread or done any kind of thing that He wanted to. But instead, He worked through people. He worked through the little boy who gave his lunch, He worked through the disciples who passed it out. What we often wait for God to do for us, God is waiting to do through us. Does that make sense? What we’re waiting for God to do for our marriage, He wants to do through our marriage. What I’m waiting for God to do for me, He wants to do through me. What you are waiting for God to do for you; God is waiting to do through you.